If, like us, you’ve been screaming “how” at New Amsterdam ever since the fourth season premiere ended with Max Goodwin deciding to go to London with Helen Sharpe, “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” finally answers your question. And it’s not an easy answer, just like there are no easy answers in fixing broken systems. Rather than taking a look at just one hospital, with Max always trying to solve major problems in 43 minutes or less, the series is now looking at two very different approaches to medicine (also with Max trying to make it all better in a small amount of time). While it might seem like the grass is always greener, neither way of doing things is completely perfect.
So, here we are, with New Amsterdam now being about Max’s fish-out-of-water status in London, the hospital he left behind declining further and further into profit-driven decision-making, and everyone on both sides of the pond—except for Dr. Fuentes. We hate her, so no benefit of the doubt there—just trying to do their best. Let’s take a look at what that means, how it all works (or doesn’t, in the usual areas), and why we’re looking forward to the rest of season 4.
Vive La Résistance!
For the record, Dr. Fuentes, we still hate you.
In the absence of Max, New Amsterdam has fallen into a hellscape of capitalist decay that is pretty much the example of everything wrong with the American healthcare system. The new Medical Director has kept her promise to tear apart every positive change Dr. Goodwin ever made. Programs that help people with mental illnesses get work experience and get back on their feet are slashed. Insurance companies now get to decide what is and isn’t an “elective” surgery, even when a patient is being sent up from the Emergency Department, and mammograms are now “recommended” a decade earlier. No, that last part isn’t to help detect dangerous cells sooner—it’s to make more money from expensive tests.
…and all of this new policy is in place so Fuentes can hire some chick who’s all about crystals and whatnot to attract the rich white lady patients who, let’s be real, are probably eating magic dirt to prevent COVID. Because money.
It’s just sad to see.
By “sad,” we totally mean “infuriating” here, for the record. In case that wasn’t blatantly obvious.
But there’s hope on the horizon, and honestly, that hope comes from the coolest place on the planet: Sandra Mae Frank as Dr. Elizabeth Wilder. New Amsterdam really picked up one of our favorites here, in both the actress and the character. Frank brings this amazing energy, especially as Dr. Wilder is initially trying to convince Drs. Bloom, Reynolds, and Frome to join her in her resistance. And the character, Wilder herself…She has Max’s big heart and fighting spirit—everything about Max that we love, she’s got it, honestly—without his tendency to create as many problems as solutions.
And yeah, the usual suspects were always going to turn her initial offer down. Their friend and fearless leader has been gone for six whole weeks. Everything they loved about the hospital is being ripped away from them, they have hurtful things happening in their personal lives, and we’re still in the era of healthcare professionals being beaten down by COVID-19. They have a lot on their plates. They’re tired. They’re jaded. It’s natural.
But Dr. Wilder doesn’t give up on them, just like Max never would have. She’s got time and strength left that they don’t, but she’s here to lend it to them. Her creative solutions—the off-books surgery, getting Iggy’s patients hired through old school methods instead of through his program—get a little bit of hope flowing again. By the end of the episode, like Iggy said, the hospital is starting to look a lot like New Amsterdam again.
…but who knows? Maybe it can look even better. After all, hasn’t New Amsterdam always been about figuring out how we can keep moving forward? And isn’t it about time women lead the charge?
That Kind Of Sharpwin Show
While Max and Helen are in total honeymoon bliss (rude of this series to skip the wedding) mode in London, our beloved Dr. Goodwin is…not exactly thriving in his professional life. And that’s to be expected. The U.S. healthcare system and the NHS are not at all alike, and a guy who’s used to being the boss at an American hospital was never going to do a great job of playing receptionist while waiting for his license to be worked out either. There’s a whole new world, some similar problems and many very different ones, for him to learn about…and totally fail at trying to make an easy change.
“My main gig is fixing broken systems.”
Nobody who has watched even three seconds of New Amsterdam would expect anything other than for Max Goodwin to hear patient complaints and then try to figure out how he could help…Add an extra three seconds to your experience with this series, and absolutely zero people should be surprised that it all blew up in his face.
An overwhelmed system can’t be overhauled overnight, which is something Max should have learned by now. But for him, the changes these patients wanted probably seemed ridiculously simple. After all, for the most part, even the terrible situation he’d left behind in the States allowed for them. Seeing the same doctor for every appointment instead of being shuffled around? Shorter wait times? Easy for a guy who once tried to singlehandedly end racism in a day…
But when you have government funding, you also have government control. It’s a trade-off. Granted, I’d personally rather have the guarantee of life-saving cancer treatment not bankrupting me and ruining any life I might have if I survive, even if it meant maybe not always seeing the same doctor (especially since we sometimes don’t actually get to choose our doctors here, thanks to insurance networks)…But that’s none of my business.
Interestingly enough, the changes Helen wanted to make at her clinic were also driven by what worked back at New Amsterdam…She’s got a little bit of Max in her (if your brain goes somewhere else with that, you’re welcome), too. And, of course, that didn’t work out well with the leadership. Or with her funding.
Even if Max kind of sucks at living in London and being a receptionist, though, he’s kind of awesome at being in love with Helen. And New Amsterdam 4×11 makes it very clear that these two are going to get through all of this with their relationship intact.
Actually, no. That’s a lie.
Sharpwin are going to just keep moving forward. What they are to each other is just going to get stronger and stronger because, as people, they’re going to allow each other to do what they have to do and support each other through it.
Max is going to figure out what his London calling is. Helen’s going to be the boss at that clinic and make it better than ever—in her own way. And at the end of the day? They’re going to come home to each other, hook up all over every surface of that flat, and be great parents to Luna. Even if they don’t have the same exact professional ties to one another, they’re still partners in every way that matters. Sharpwin will thrive, which is what they deserve.
Sorry to anyone who was confused about what kind of show this is.
More Talkin’ Bout New Amsterdam 4×11…
- On the one hand, new guy called Iggy basic, so we stan. On the other, the new guy called Iggy’s coffee basic, and I can’t support that. At all. The only coffee we don’t validate is the decaf kind…and the Folgers kind.
- Just gonna. Put my exact notes here. For science: HELEN IS SO HAPPY IN THIS OPENING SHOT JUST SETTING FOOT IN LONDON. HE CARRIED HER OVER THE THRESHOLD. AND THE IMMEDIATELY MAKING OUT ON THE COUNTER. THE PAINTING. THEY ARE HAPPY. LUNA IS SO HAPPY RUNNING TO HELEN WTF.
- It’s the entire staff being petty and ignoring Fuentes for me. Beautiful.
- Maybe, like, if you want your staff to respect you…don’t refer to them as “these people,” and don’t be a capitalist shill? IDK.
- Y’all caught how Iggy cut himself off from saying “my husband” to say “a family member,” right? That will end well.
- Ok but this whole thing with Lyn and the two dudes who sit around, making conversation about how it’s all going to go without even consulting her, needs to end. The whole thing. End it.
- “When I send a patient up for surgery, it’s because they need it. When insurance companies dictate what’s elective, people die. And I’m not sending patients home to call their insurance companies, when many patients don’t have insurance and they don’t have a home.” The amount of “YES, GO OFF” this deserves, though.
- No, but really. I. Love. Dr. Wilder. The passion? The determination? Queen.
- Helen: “I jolly well hope so.” Me, an intellectual: Omg. Unleash Freema Agyeman’s Brit. Yas.
- “We have mental illnesses, and people don’t want crazy people working for them.” New Amsterdam said, “fuck stigmatizing people with mental illness.” So true.
- Meanwhile, in London (Joey Tribbiani voice: “In London?!”): Romance. Flirting while explaining tea. A romantic comedy, if you will.
- “If it can go wrong, it will go wrong! This is my life. You don’t understand.” Greg the patient is me, and I am Greg the patient.
- “And my doctor, was, uh…She was everything.” Max Goodwin, Helen Sharpe simp. We been knew.
- Floyd and Lauren’s reactions to the crystal lady are the mood.
- Helen: Patient-focused. Knight Commander/Knight/???? Dude: American. Me: No, no. American is profit focused.
- The way Helen stood up to that guy, though. I remain in the Freema Agyeman stan club.
- “…but if we’re being real? You don’t need a DNA test to know if someone’s a father. He’s the guy that doesn’t have to think twice about showing up.” True? But New Amsterdam can stop with this messy storyline any. time. (Preferably yesterday.)
- Wilder’s got jokes about these dead bodies telling no tales…but the “bathe in Borax to cleanse your aura of vaccines” or wtfever lady…might tell a few.
- BECAUSE I’M IN AWE OF YOU. AND EVERYTHING THAT YOU ARE.
- What kind of show is New Amsterdam again????
- Oh, right. This kind: “I love it here because I love you. And, you know, you’re here. So…So, I love it here.”
- She’s cradling him????